82-year-old cyclist will be first Brit to cycle one million miles in lifetime

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

A veteran cyclist will clock his millionth mile on Thursday – the equivalent of circling the equator 40 times.

Russ Mantle has overcome several bumps, bruises and breaks to keep on pedalling to the age of 82 and insists he has no intention of stopping now.

According to Cycle UK, the retired civil servant, who has kept a mile count since the 1950s, will become the first Brit to cycle one million miles.

“To me, it’s a natural way of getting around, it always has been, it’s easier to meet people who are also cycling,” he told ITV News from his home in Aldershot, Surrey.

“I love it because of the exercise firstly, I love the sheer mobility of cycling. I can stop where I like, particularly on mountain passes where there is no layby, I can stop precisely where I like.”

It’s the mountain passes Mr Mantle has cherished the most over the course of his many trips, telling ITV News his favourite routes have been in the Alps and on high ground.

His exploits have taken him to Corsica, Spain, and Austria.

But it was closer to home, in Herefordshire, where Mr Mantle says his best memories were made, completing a 25-mile bike ride in under an hour – the sixth quickest time in his race.

And it’s those memories that make cycling too important for him to ever turn from, even in his old age.

CYCLIST proudly showing memorabilia from his past cycling days.

“It's my means of getting around, I'm not going to buy another car again and just have it taking up space in the garage,” he said.

“No, I’m stuck with the bike.”

Not even injury has kept him away from his wheels: “I’ve broken my pelvis, broken my hip, I've had a punctured lung due to ribs breaking, I've had a smashed arm, I've been in hospital in Southampton unconscious for three days.

“Each time I bounce back, you can’t stop me.”